Regal Entertainment Group and IMAX Corp. have signed a joint venture agreement that will see an addition 30 digital projection systems to the Regal Cinemas circuit.

The deal, which covers 20 major US markets, greatly expands a previously announced joint venture of eight screens and will raise Regal's IMAX screen count to 52 by 2010.

Under the terms of the agreement the companies will share the risk and reward of the new cinemas, the first of which are expected to open in time to capitalize on the November 2008 release of Warner Bros' Harry Potter And The Half Blood Prince: The IMAX Experience.

The announcement boosted IMAX shares to $6.90. In December 2007, IMAX and US exhibitor AMC Entertainment unveiled plans to install 100 digital projection systems in 33 major markets.

Major studio releases slated for IMAX exhibition include: Shine A Light (April 2008), Kung Fu Panda (June 2008), The Dark Knight (July 2008), Deep Sea-quel 3D (working title, February 2009), Monsters vs. Aliens 3D (March 2009), How to Train Your Dragon 3D (November 2009), Hubble 3D (working title, February 2010) and Shrek Goes Fourth 3D (May 2010).